Sublime Sundays

Sublime Sundays

Hey guys,

Just a really short Sublime Sunday post this week. I’m currently sat on my hotel bed after a really long, post-half marathon bath! Yes, that’s right, I actually completed it!

Not only did I get around the entire course but I did it in a time of 2.37 which is insane. I’ve only ever done one other half marathon (I’ve done varying other distances but not another 13.1) which was three years ago. I was training back then and completed it in 2.29. So clearly my new tactic should be not to train for these things! 

It was a fairly emotional day in all honesty. I’ve not been feeling myself lately and last week, I’d decided that I didn’t feel up to running. I was going to come to Manchester for the weekend anyway but on Friday night, a few good friends sent me good luck messages and basically changed my mind. And I’m glad they did!

I was super anxious this morning but as soon as I reached Old Trafford and felt the buzz of the other runners it subsided a little. Then the rain came and I just thought, F**k it, this is probably the worst it’s going to get today and I can deal with that! I managed to run constantly through to about the 11 mile marker and then had to walk a little which was annoying but given my lack of training, I’m okay with!

Last night and this morning, I was overwhelmed with messages of support – family, friends, colleagues, other bloggers I only know online! I even got a phone call at the 15km point with a mini pep talk to keep me going! As soon as I crossed the line (and I mean literally the second I stepped over it) I rang my mum to tell her, then I cried, collected my goody bag and sat down on the floor. When I eventually pulled myself together (maybe 30 seconds later!!) I tried to get up off the floor which was a struggle so big shout out to the random guy who helped me get up! Then I headed back to the hotel for a long bath.

We’re heading out to my favourite Manchester restaurant, Australasia, for a celebratory dinner later tonight, but for now, it’s time for a glass of wine or two!

Also, just before I sign off, a massive well done to my friend Mia who ran today in an amazing sub 2.30 time and thank you so much for your words of encouragement all weekend. Love you!

Friday Fitness: Boot Camp

Friday Fitness Part FiveThis week’s Friday Fitness is completely different to the rest for two reasons:

  1. I’ve kept forgetting to record what I’ve been eating. This is probably for the best as my diet hasn’t been great recently and what I’ve eaten this week is probably quite embarrassing!
  2. I went to my first ever boot camp session last night and needed to write about it IMMEDIATELY!

So, just a quick general update – I’ve been really slack with the gym lately. I’ve been exhausted (I say this waaaaay too much). There’s been a lot going on in the world of Dani over the past few weeks. I’ve been off medication for a while now which means I’m finally starting to feel less like a zombie but it does mean that I haven’t been sleeping well. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather be myself and struggling to sleep than still on medication. Whilst I think I deserve a mini “Yay!” for that achievement, I also deserve a kick up the ass for not working out. Also, I’ve been having a nightmare with my implant so that’s coming out today – another mini “Yay!”

Anyway, enough about me, on to boot camp. Me and the girls at work are trying to do different “sporting” activities in London. The catch being that they have to be free. So far we’ve had a free taster of a Michael Jackson dance class (evidence below). The class was so much fun and the instructor was amazing – she had so much energy and passion it was insane! Also, as it was a taster session, nobody knew what was going on so we weren’t alone there!

Sported staff learning to moonwalk

I digress, again…So, our next free group activity was boot camp. This is what dictionary.com has to say about boot camp:

Boot Camp

noun

1. (US, slang) a basic training camp for new recruits to the US Navy or Marine Corps
2. a centre for juvenile offenders, with a strict disciplinary regime, hard physical exercise, and community labour programmes

Sounds horrific right? And also nothing to do with keeping fit through choice. But boot camp sessions are taking London by storm…well I think they did a while ago but I’ve only just jumped on the bandwagon!

Due to location and the fact that they offered a free trial, we went with Swift Fitness who have this to say about their boot camps:

“The sessions had to be super effective, and get people in amazing shape. Every workout has to be fun, enjoyable and something you want over and over again. Plus we want each session to be social. Whether you’re bringing old friends along, or making new ones. Working out is just better with mates.” (Copied from Swift Fitness’s website)

Before I carry on, I’m going to say this right now – I have not been paid for this review…but it was amazing!

Granted, for half of the one hour session I genuinely thought I might throw up but I guess that’s what happens when you’re unfit but push yourself anyway!

It’s hard to explain what we did. Partly because it’s a blur and partly because words don’t actually do it justice. There was sprinting, squats, lunges, weird crawling, press ups and a whole load of abs. All made more interesting by the fact that it was raining so we were essentially a bunch of weirdos rolling around in the mud in Green Park. 

Boot CampThe key thing was that it was HARD. Like, can’t breathe, sweating my face off, might throw up hard. But it was also really fun. And I say that as one of the slowest, least fit people in the whole group. Sure, I was waaaay behind most people there but I didn’t actually care and usually I would. I didn’t feel like people were judging me or laughing at me. I just went at my own pace and that was OK. But I guess that’s what happens when you’re in a group of people all doing the same thing but in a way that works for them – everyone was far too busy focusing on what they were doing to even care about anything else.

The instructor was awesome too (although some of the others will definitely not agree with me on that). He made you challenge yourself and push a little harder than you wanted to but he wasn’t mad-as-hell, yelling in your face, mean to you. He also loved my Thursday face and anyone that can accept my Thursday face is OK in my books.

The combo of constantly changing exercises, a good instructor and a friendly group meant that the hour absolutely flew by.

Summary? I ache massively today so that’s always a good sign of an excellent workout. I’d definitely do it again but pricing is an issue in London so I need to figure out how often I’d actually go and whether or not I’d keep my gym membership too.

I’d definitely recommend you checking out your local boot camp and, if you can, popping along for a free trial. The only downside is that they can be quite expensive, especially in central London.

Anyway, get out there and enjoy!

How to Overcome “the Fear” When Exercising

Overcoming the Fear

Overcoming the Fear

Recently, I read a really good post on Career Girl Daily about overcoming paranoia at the gym. It was one of those posts that really hit home – I could relate to pretty much everything there. But I also realised that I have a few extra worries when it comes to the gym and exercising in general. So I thought I’d write my own post tackling those issues. Yes, a few of these points are covered in the Career Girl Daily post but I’ve added my own thoughts in here too.

1. The Fear of Being Judged

This is my biggest fear at the gym as well as when I’m running outside. Regardless of the location, I feel like there’s a million eyes on me when I’m working out, all judging. I don’t mean that in a “Oh look at me” big-headed way, I mean in a “haha, look at her” way.

I hate it. My mind races with things that people are definitely thinking about me – “What the hell is she doing?” “Wow, that’s some serious wobble!” “She looks like Phoebe running!”

The reality is, people in the gym are far too focused on what they are doing to even care about what you are doing. Most importantly, you should just focus on what you are doing not whether or not people are watching you. Do what feels right for you – I guarantee you;ll feel better once you’ve worked out.

If you’re running outdoors, people will inevitably be watching you. It’s just what it is. I run a majorly busy route in central London – through Green Park, past Buckingham Palace, across Trafalgar Square, down Southbank to Tower Bridge. Literally the busiest parts of the city. And yes, I do constantly feel like I’m being judged, there’s no getting away from that. But I turn my music up loud, look at the pavement in front of me and shut everyone else out. If I do catch someone looking at me (realistically, they’re probably looking at something else!) I just think “You know what, at least I’m trying”.

No matter what you are doing in life from food shopping to exercise, people will always judge you. All you can do is focus on doing what you need to do for yourself. And remember to enjoy it.

2. The Fear of F***ing Up

Tripping over the curb? Falling off the treadmill? Getting stuck under the barbell mid chest press? Scary stuff right?! You know what, shit happens. That’s life. All you can do is your best to stay safe.

Chances are, you won’t fall off the treadmill. You know what you’re doing, you’ve got this.

Worst case scenario? Sure, falling off the treadmill will be super embarrassing but other people have done it before and other people will do it in the future. Yes. People will laugh but so will you. Then people will forget about it and move on with their lives.

If you have a serious fear of messing up when it comes to weights, ask someone to help you. Which leads nicely on to…

No Fear

3. The Fear of Hurting Yourself

Falling off the treadmill looks painful. Dead-lifting with the wrong posture is seriously dangerous. Scrap that. Working out is dangerous full stop!

The best thing you can do is to research your workout before you go to the gym. Make sure you know what you’re meant to be doing. If you’re not 100% certain when you get there, ask someone. Either someone else working out there or gym staff. That’s what staff are there for and they have your health and safety in mind. They want you to get the best out of your workout and actually love helping people achieve their goals.

Make sure you always warm up properly and stretch well after every single workout. Also, make sure you take schedule rest days and listen to your body. If you feel tired, be careful – don’t push yourself too much. If it’s not a scheduled rest day but your body is telling you to rest, listen.

4. The Fear of Breaking Something

I don’t mean bones. I mean equipment. Some of the assisted weights machines look scary as hell and too often I have tried to adjust the seat height (I’m seriously starting to wonder if gyms cater for people my height), “broken” the adjuster thingy and just had to walk away!

If you’re not sure how to adjust some of the machinery without breaking it, watch the person using it before you – learn from other people in the gym. Still unsure? Ask for help. Now I’m going to say something slightly controversial here but it’s my personal experience. Asking for help in the gym is insanely easy – those guys flexing in the mirror are literally waiting for an opportunity to help you and look manly!

Also, I’ve said it already. Shit happens. You might well break something! Just make sure you tell the staff because the next person might hurt themselves trying to use it.

5. The Fear of a Wardrobe Malfunctions

I know for a fact that I am not the only person who worries about my clothes in the gym. And I don’t mean in a vain, am I wearing the latest brands? I mean the fear of my leggings splitting when I squat. The fear of getting off the bike with some unsightly sweat patches. The fear of the girls jiggling far too much when I run.

The only way to deal with this is to just deal with it. I know that’s not helpful and I’m sorry but there’s only so much you can do. Replace your gym/running clothes regularly and buy good quality brands. If you are prone to sweating more than most (I definitely am) choose the colour of your clothes carefully. If you’re worried about your bum jiggling too much, wear a longer top that covers it. Invest in a good sports bra and don’t wear anything too low cut. It’s all common sense really!

Brighteyed and Bewildered (8)

6. The Fear of “Fat”

Stop. Stop right there. You are NOT fat. Everyone has to start somewhere. Going to the gym or going out for a run takes a lot of motivation and a whole lot of courage. Be proud of yourself and keep going!

7. The Fear of Failure

If you’re made it to the gym or out for a run. You have already won. You are awesome.

Sometimes you’ll get to the gym, start your workout and really not be feeling it. You might usually run 5km but today, you might get 1km in and have to stop. It’s OK. For some unknown reason, sometimes we just can’t. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It’s OK to stop and just try again tomorrow.

As long as you don’t quit all together, you are not a failure.

Some Extra Tips

  1. Find a gym/running buddy – you’re a lot less likely to worry about these things if your’re not alone.
  2. Listen to music – I simply just block everything out around me and get in the zone. I don’t even realise there’s people around me most of the time.
  3. Start with what you know – this will reduce the likelihood of messing up or injuring yourself.
  4. Ask for help – if you don’t know how to do something, or if you need someone to spot you, ask!
  5. Take a class – worried about looking stupid? It’s hard to worry when everyone in the room with you looks just as silly!

No Fear

So, stop letting these fears get the better of you. Exercising is not easy but the benefits are insane – both physically and mentally. Get out there and enjoy it!

Can you relate to these fears? Do you have any other worries when it comes to exercising? Let me know.

Friday Fitness Round Up: Part Four

Brighteyed and Bewildered (6)

This week has been a bit bumpy. I’ve had some great workouts but I’ve also done a lot of comfort eating which isn’t great, especially as I’m going on holiday on Wednesday! My diet and exercise regime is likely to be rubbish while I’m away too so it’s looking like two poor weeks in a row.

Saturday

Brighteyed and Bewildered (7)Brunch – Cheese and bacon oatcakes. I have two questions: 1. Why is bacon soooo amazing? 2. Why does London not have oatcakes?

Afternoon Snack – I spent the afternoon wandering round Borough Market so treated myself to an apple, pear and mint juice.

Dinner – We had dinner out this evening. I didn’t want to hold back too much but also didn’t want to completely pig out so I had a burger with avocado but no bun and only a couple of sweet potato fries.

Exercise – I walked quite a lot today. By the time I’d got the tube, walked around the market and headed home, I’d clocked up over 15,000 steps.

Feeling – It’s been a while since I last went to Borough Market because the crowds made me nervous but today I was fine. Sometimes it’s hard to see the progress you’re making each day until you do something that you couldn’t do/found difficult to do before.

Sunday

Brighteyed and Bewildered (16)Breakfast – Usual Sunday behaviour of skipping breakfast. I had planned to eat mid-morning but we went out on the motorbike and ended up in Southend-on-Sea.

Lunch – Half a portion of fish and chips. I mean, it would be rude not to seeing as we were at the seaside!

Dinner – Homemade Chilli con Carne with spicy rice.

Exercise – My abs got a pretty good workout on the bike and we had a nice walk along the seafront but other than that it’s been a fairly sedative day.

Feeling – Had a lovely day on the bike in the sunshine and it’s been ages since I’ve been to the seaside in the UK.

Monday 

Brighteyed and Bewildered (12)Breakfast – Yogurt, granola and Green Tea (obviously not all mixed together)

Lunch – Salad from home. Mixed lettuce leaves, tomatoes, peppers and tuna.

Afternoon Snack – Raisins and apricots.

Dinner – Leftover chilli in leftover fajita wraps. I made them into an enchilada kind of dish by filling the wraps with chilli, topping with salsa and cheese and baking in the over.

Exercise – Today was a gym day. I ran 5km and trained triceps, biceps, shoulders and abs.

Feeling – It was nice to be back in the gym after the weekend and, as an added bonus it was really quiet. I’m really looking forward to the weekend again already so I think an early night is in order to see if I can find some extra energy to get me through the rest of the week.

Tuesday 

Coffee makesthe world go roundBreakfast – Proper coffee and some granola.

Lunch – Salad from home. Rather embarrassingly, I’m lacking fresh food at home so today’s salad consisted of lettuce, tomatoes and olives! Although it sounds super dull, it did the job and filled me up until dinner time.

Afternoon Snack – I forgot to pack my snacks today!

Dinner – I’ve felt really rubbish all day, my mood has been low and I’ve felt stressed for no real reason so I had a full blown cheat meal – my diet has been terrible lately so I don’t think it counts as a “cheat meal” (ahem, McDonald’s is OK right?)

Exercise – I know this is a lame excuse but I wasn’t in the office today which meant that I would have to head into central London just to go to the gym. I was not feeling that at all so treated myself to a day off.

Feeling – Fat but less stressed.

Wednesday 

Brighteyed and Bewildered (9)Breakfast – Yogurt and granola. Two cups of coffee.

Lunch – Salmon and Tuna tartare salad from Itsu. I also tried their seaweed thins and have to admit, I’m not a fan.

Afternoon Snack – Raisins

Dinner – Homemade chicken curry and rice. Not the best but it was a low fat sauce so tasty and nowhere near as bad as a take-away.

Exercise – I did not want to go to the gym today but I made myself go and, inevitably, had a great workout. I only managed 25 minutes of cardio (15 minute warm-up on the stepper and 10 minute cool-down on the treadmill) because I spent the rest of my time there on an epic leg workout. My legs ache already which doesn’t bode well for tomorrow or Friday!

Feeling – I’ve had a day full of doubting myself today but the workout really helped. I’ve also been fairly productive this evening in terms of blogging and social media updates etc. so all in all, pretty good (although shattered).

Thursday 

Brighteyed and Bewildered (8)Breakfast – Yogurt and granola. I’m almost out of granola so it’s actually more like a granola dust at the moment!

Lunch – Macc and Cheese

Afternoon Snack – Coffee and a brownie

Dinner – Pizza. Holiday preparation is going well!

Exercise – Another day off. My legs are still killing from yesterday.

Feeling – This might not seem like a big deal to a lot of people, but today was another mile marker for me. The picture at the top of today’s entry is me in my Paris Marathon t-shirt that I’ve been too fat to fit into since before Christmas. It’s still a little tighter than I would like it to be but some progress is better than no progress!

Friday (today)

IMG_3321
Thanks to Huffington Post’s Insta account for this

Breakfast – Just coffee today. Wasn’t really feeling the whole breakfast thing what with the EU Referendum results and all.

Lunch – Cheese sandwich. Pretty boring but a classic!

Afternoon Snack – More coffee and a slice of jam roll in the office

Dinner – I went shopping after work to get some final bits and pieces for the holiday so we got dinner while we were out. I had steak, chips and salad alongside a Porn Star Martini.

Exercise – I was planning on going for a run after work but then realised I needed to go shopping as it’s my last free evening before my holidays – will have to make up for this over the weekend.

Feeling – Shocked by this morning’s but that’s got nothing to do with my diet, exercise or mental health! Generally though, really good and super glad that it’s finally Friday. I have a packed weekend ahead of me and then only two days at work before it’s holiday time.

Friday Fitness Round Up: Part Three

Brighteyed and BewilderedSo it’s actually been a couple of weeks since I last did one of these posts – I’ve been unwell so my diet hasn’t been great (everyone knows that you should feed a cold!!) and I’ve taken time out from the gym so it would have made for a pretty dull read!

Saturday

Untitled designBrunch – Waffles with golden syrup (hey! I said no judging!)

Afternoon Snack – Coffee but managed to resist actual snacks after my brunch of waffles.

Dinner – Pizzaaaaaaaaaa!!!

Exercise – I mainly slept today which is what I really needed to get over this stinking cold/flu/general ickiness. Sometimes you just have to listen to your body and relax.

Feeling – I’m feeling less sorry for myself now I’ve had 12 hours sleep

Sunday

Brighteyed and Bewildered (3)Breakfast – Coffee. I was still completely stuffed from last night’s dinner which seems to be a common Sunday morning theme.

Lunch – I was super lazy today in terms of food and ate a slice of cold pizza left from last night which is also what I had for dinner! (I’m actually pretty embarrassed writing that down!)

Afternoon Snack – Cough syrup and nasal decongestant.

Dinner – More leftover pizza.

Exercise – I did an awesome abs workout which consisted on me coughing violently for 7 hours straight and then having a 20 minute ice shower to lower my temperature!

Feeling – Much better than I have done over the past few days. Finally coming out of the other side of this cold. I’m really hoping to be back in the gym from tomorrow. I’ve also got a lot done today in terms of social media updates, scheduling posts etc. which is a really nice feeling.

Monday 

Brighteyed and Bewildered (2)Breakfast – This seems to be a common occurrence on Mondays but I skipped breakfast today.

Lunch – Crayfish and avocado salad from Pret – low fat, low carb option which is delicious! I also got a Green Goodness juice in the hope that the extra vitamins might help get rid of the final germs in my system.

Afternoon Snack – No snacks today! Go me!

Dinner – Tomato and herb pasta bake with wholemeal pasta.

Exercise – I was back in the gym today which was great – I did 40 minutes cardio (running and stepping machine) and did a small weight session focusing on biceps, triceps and shoulders. I also forgot that we were getting our food delivered tonight so I had to run home from the station.

Feeling – Happy and relaxed. I’m feeling much, much better and it felt great to be back in the gym/exercising again. I’m still really proud of how productive I was yesterday so just making the most of this positive energy I have today.

Tuesday 

Brighteyed and Bewildered (1)Breakfast – The usual yoghurt and granola.

Lunch – Salad (from home, not the shop bought kind)

Afternoon Snack – I was back to the usual snacks today too – raisins and

Dinner – Left over tomato pasta bake – it was a bit of a godsend actually to come home from work and have dinner already made. I’ve been organising our work team meeting over the past few weeks and it’s finally here so I needed to get home and pack ready for an early start tomorrow.

Exercise – I decided to not go today. I didn’t want to come straight back in to 5 days a week after being ill but I have plans to use the hotel gym tomorrow night with some of the guys from work.

Feeling – Pretty stressed about the next two days; you know the usual things – What if I forgot to book someone a train ticket or hotel room? What if the hotel is shit? What do I need to pack? Other than that, feeling really good. I’m excited about catching up with colleagues over the next couple of days and I’m almost 100% back to normal after the cold.

Wednesday 

Brighteyed and Bewildered (4)Breakfast – I had to be out of the door by 6.30 this morning so just grabbed a cereal bar on the way to the train. I had a fundraising meeting in someone else’s office so got a lovely skinny latte there.

Lunch – Today has been very much a “grab and go” day so after rushing from London to Birmingham via a meeting in Hemel Hempstead, I grabbed a sandwich in the train station which got half eaten on the road.

Afternoon Snack – No snacks today. There were lots of nice biscuits with the tea and coffee at the afternoon meeting venue but I resisted.

Dinner –  We all went out for dinner this evening as a team. I managed to have some self control over food and had a chicken salad but I let myself down a bit with 3-4 glasses of wine(ish).

Exercise – I went to the gym at the hotel between the afternoon meeting and going out for dinner. A few of us did a legs workout with squats and lunges. I then did a bit on the exercise bike followed by some abs/bra bulge focused exercises.

Feeling – I’m exhausted from rushing around and the early start but I’ve had a really good day. Lots of super positive meetings with various people which have resulted in lots of exciting ideas and plans! It was really nice to catch up with colleagues this afternoon and over dinner as I don’t get to see most of them very often.

Thursday 

Coffee makesthe world go roundBreakfast – Alpen and soya milk – I’m actually considering switching regular milk for soya; any thoughts on this would be welcomed

Lunch – Cheese and tomato sandwich.

Afternoon Snack – Coffee. I also went for a couple of pints with a friend from work when we got off the train in London – not really a snack as such but it wasn’t my dinner either!

Dinner – Chilli salmon, broccoli and rice.

Exercise – My legs did not appreciate their workout last night! They are pretty sore today but that’s a good thing! I didn’t have time to work out today but, like I said on Tuesday, the plan wasn’t to work out five days this week anyway. I’ll be happy as long as I can get to the gym tomorrow.

Feeling – Legs are sore but other than that pretty good. I also really needed the drink and catch up this evening so that was nice.

Friday (today)

GymBreakfast – I’m exhausted from the rest of this week so treated myself to a chocolate croissant and a coffee.

Lunch – Another Crayfish and Avocado salad

Afternoon Snack – I may or may not have had a millionaire’s shortbread bite which, if it did happen, was actually pretty restrained given the amount of donuts and other snacks in the office today!

Dinner – Chicken, veg and rice fajita/burritos made at home. Mmmmmm!

Exercise – Smashed it at the gym tonight  and burnt almost 500 calories in just under an hour with sprints, stepper machine and cycling. Also did some abs when I got home.

Feeling – Relieved that it’s the weekend! I think an evening of chilling out is in order tonight followed by a lie-in tomorrow morning.

It’s been a super busy week so I’ve had to buy food on the go but I’m really happy that I’m back in the gym (and haven’t gone back too hard and just burnt myself out). My sleep has been really poor this week – most nights I’ve had between 3 and 4 hours of broken sleep.

Having read my fitness diaries from the past few weeks, it’s really clear how poorly I’m eating at weekends. So going forwards this is a key area I really want to work on. After all, there’s no point in me working really hard during the week, just to undo it all on the weekend.